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European Union: The Gardens of Fantastica

Part 2 Project 2013
Steven McCloy
Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) | UK
The project asks, what if the raison d’être of the European Union (EU) was food and energy security? An allegorical masterplan for the European region radically re-imagines the formation of the EU after World War II. Here the parliamentary headquarters move every 5 years; spreading the influence of sustainable living and celebrating the special qualities of the host cities. An urban catalyst that deals with urban agriculture, renewable energy, clean water, and fresh air; Fantastica is revealed in the streets, tunnels, parks, skies and waterways of Paris, the capital of art and culture for the first term of the new EU.

Under a sky of regimented clouds the wide boulevards of Paris are relieved of motor traffic, community allotments pack out all but a modest cycle lane, and the mechanical clouds work to irrigate the food boulevards whilst also providing accommodation for the hundreds of volunteers from all around Europe who have come to contribute to the EU cause. The beautiful panoramic views are the silver lining for all the hard work the volunteers do. A vast energy ring surrounds the city like a defensive wall, safeguarding against the threat of increasing energy demands.

On the Champ-de-Mars the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) are the keepers of Fantastican gardens and have a duty to the public to communicate the ambitions of the newly formed EU and its agenda for ensuring Europe’s sustainable food and energy futures. The gardens are an open parliament, but also a fully functional biomass power station and water purification centre. The methane, from the city’s biomass, is produced in anaerobic digesters and stored in gasometers, which double as pigeon towers used to collect tons of droppings; a source of biomass. Biogas is cleaned before it is burned in CHP generators, condensers then separate out carbon dioxide from the emissions and re-direct it to intensive greenhouses.

The Eiffel Tower is transformed into Parliamentary Chambers and Headquarters; a hanging food curtain veils the 300m structure and attenuates the internal microclimate, it is drawn back ceremonially as the MEPs assemble underneath.

Steven McCloy


Mr C J Lim
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